White Sox

Robin Ventura hopes to mix up White Sox lineup with Jose Abreu in second spot

Robin Ventura hopes to mix up White Sox lineup with Jose Abreu in second spot

Fans have clamored for him to hit second, but Jose Abreu simply doesn’t care where he Robin Ventura lists him on the lineup card.

A day after he dropped Jimmy Rollins out of the two hole, the White Sox manager moved Abreu up from his customary third spot to second for Friday’s contest against the Kansas City Royals. Ventura didn’t commit to how long he’d try Abreu in the spot, but said the move is in hope of jumpstarting both his slugger and the team’s offense, which is in a little rut. It’s the 35th time Abreu has batted second with the previous 34 coming last season. The team went 15-19 in those games.

“We did it last year, mixed it up a little bit, Ventura said. “He seemed to handle it fine. You’re just moving guys around. Offensively we’ve been in a rut.”

Though Abreu only is nine RBIs behind baseball’s league leader (Robinson Cano, 36), he’s yet to have a lengthy hot streak. There’s no question that Abreu hasn’t been himself. Normally a beast with runners in scoring position (he has a .976 career OPS), Abreu is hitting at a .265/.361/.286 clip with no homers and 18 RBIs in 61 plate appearances this season. The first baseman said before Friday’s game he doesn’t mind where he bats and that he feels fine and hasn’t changed his process.

“I’ve been feeling good,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “Step by step, I’ve been feeling better. I know I have to keep working hard. I’ve been feeling very good. It’s a work in progress. It’s a long season, but I’ve been feeling very good.”

Abreu entered Friday hitting .290/.338/.478 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 148 plate appearances batting second. Leadoff man Adam Eaton would seem to be the biggest beneficiary as he expects to see more fastballs. But Eaton said not much changed with Abreu behind him in the lineup last season.

“You’re in scoring position at first base,” Eaton said. “I don’t know if there’s a huge difference. I’ll approach it the same.”

Ventura suggested he likes how Abreu’s use of right field could come into play with Eaton on base. Perhaps the White Sox hope that getting Abreu to hit it to the right side will get him back on track. Either way, Ventura doesn’t intend to ask Abreu to do anything different when he mans the position.

“I just want him to go play,” Ventura said. “There’s times to take pitches, he’s probably taken too many at this point. I’m not sitting there putting any parameters on what he has to do just because he’s hitting in the two-hole. It’s just mixing it up and a letting him go out and he uses the other side of the field very well, I think that’s part of it as well.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

The White Sox three outfield prospects are creating a lot of buzz at spring training.

On this edition of the podcast, Micker Adolfo tells Chuck Garfien about a conversation they all had about one day becoming the starting outfield for the White Sox. Adolfo talks about his longtime friendship with Eloy Jimenez, his impressions of Luis Robert, Luis Basabe and the White Sox future.

But first, it's a conversation with MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez who has great insight on many of the White Sox players: Jimenez, Robert, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu. He tells an amazing story about why Jimenez decided to sign with the Cubs when he was a teenager, how much Abreu is revered in Cuba and much more.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.